Surprise Show: Nick Redfern and Chris O’Brien

This show started off as a music and call-in show, but when I called Nick Redfern, it took off. We started right in about problems with UFO studies, people who we think are doing good work, and then launched into a discussion of government secrets and how Nick does his research. A discussion of Charles Fort’s personal life followed and then quite a bit more about the nature of UFO study and how it might be improved.

In a huge surprise, Chris O’Brien called in and we took our “state of ufology” discussion to another level. I think some real good suggestions about where things could be going came out of this conversation.

NOTICE: I may go to a registered user-only comment section, since I get 100-300 spam messages on the site a day, even with the filters I have in place. Tell me what you think.

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28 Responses to Surprise Show: Nick Redfern and Chris O’Brien

  1. as a commenter – it’s already a big enough pain in my behind!

    as a blogger -oy, i SO feel ya, bro.

    is it possible to have a system where people can ‘register’ ‘log in’ or whatever with existing google, facebook tweet, etc. accounts? i know that makes it a lot easier for me, if it’s a site-only registration i generally won’t bother.

    btw, can you post the call in # somewhere on your website? i mean, if you want people to have an easier time calling in……..yeah i know i assumed a lot with that statement there. take it easy, steph

  2. Steve says:

    I wouldn’t have a problem with registering to comment.

    Have you considered setting up a forum?

  3. hi Greg – i think the first step is to define ufology. and no, i’m not trying to be a smart@ss. For example, you were talking about tossing something unexpected at the phenomenon in order to shake up the programming as something which would be anew approach to investigating with the phenomenon, something which i think is an excellent idea. Well, a couple of years ago i was listening to Vaeni and Ritzmann interview Jacques Vallee on their old show Paratopia, and Vallee mentioned that he’d been doing some experiments along those lines up in the wilds of northern california by creating ‘informational anomalies’ and seeing if that would provoke paranormal incidents. But, to my eternal frustration, neither host followed up (except to go on about how ‘cool’ that idea was) so i have no idea what Valle was up to – planting dictionaries around with all the ‘B’ words in the ‘Z’ section? Pasting the ingredient list from a Cheetos bag on a bag actually filled with Cool Ranch Doritos? I remain ignorant to this day. Here’s the interview:

    Allen Greenfield’s books “The Secret Cipher of the Ufonauts” and “The Secret Rituals of the Men In Black” both deal with using ciphers in order to figure out what the MIB’s are up to, predicting their movements and so interfering in the whole loop if one desires. Read” Ufonauts “here:

    and “MIB” here:

    but of course, Greenfield is a known occultist and from my perspective it seems that the general bent in ‘ufology’ is to get more ‘scientific’ and avoid the ‘woo’. Ironically, Chris O’Brien’s fave scientist guy, Mr. Vallee, has dug very very deep into occult documents in his research. If you read his diaries, or better yet do a little practice yourself, it becomes apparent he’s almost certainly done more than reading. Esoteric ritual may be frowned upon by science, however the whole point is to establish predictable, repeatable communication with non-human intelligences at particular times and places…..the main thing science has trouble with when trying to study the ufo phenomenon. If nothing else, i love the irony of that 🙂

    My point being -I’m all for anyone moving forward with these ideas you’re discussing here! And i think that deciding who is your target audience will be crucial to success – As i point out above, Vallee and Greenfield have been doing exactly what you wish ‘ufology’ was up to, but i agree with you wholeheartedly that nobody in the ‘general ufo community’ has paid these activities of theirs any attention. And both of these guys are major names in ‘the field’!

    as usual i have more to say , but time for my walk. anyways, have a good week all! steph

  4. Whenever I hear discussions about the “state” of ufology, the first thing that always pops into my mind is the line by John Keel that adopting a single frame of reference to the subject is absolute doom.

    Like psychedelics and the occult, the “sender is receiver” to borrow a line from Mcluhan or from John Lilly, something like “what is believed true, becomes true”. If you adopt the “nuts and bolts” theory, you start seeing evidence for crashed saucers and secret space programs. If you adopt the “UFO as Psy-op” theory, you start seeing Allen Dulles under your bed (with Doty peering over his shoulder) and everything is a “false flag alien agenda”.

    If you adopt the exopolitics consensus reality tunnel, then you start seeing disclosure around the corner and a galactic federation of space brothers and sisters. If you take the “demonic” approach, then its Dulce, cattle mutilations and satan in a flying saucer. If you adopt the sceptical view then its sleep paralysis, misidentification, hallucination and tectonic plates and if you adopt the occult paradigm, its tulpas, non-human intelligences and Lam.

    The point “is”, its always “sombanall” to borrow one of my favourite RAW terms, it becomes whatever viewpoint you are looking at it from and we forget what Mckenna always points out, it ultimately comes in a form that casts doubt on itself (if you look at it from a certain angle) and it is in that space alone, that sanity resides, or at the very least your sense of humour.

    PS> How do the spambots get past the “reCAPTCHA” button? It can take me three or four goes to get it right on a good night, how they do it is just as spooky to me as a hanger full of crashed saucers!

    • Bob Bobson says:

      I’m with this comment. I’m not even sure there is any UFOlogy at this point to critique. It’s almost a straw man. After all, what is it?

      On the one hand, you have the ecosystem of authors writing books and going on podcasts to promote those books — and often the hosts of these shows are other authors who at some point will appear on the show of the aforementioned guest. — As a side note, Redfern is a sort of Olympic gold medalist when it comes to this. I am hard-pressed to find a show he *hasn’t* been on, to the point where there appears to be what I call a Redfern Rule along the lines of Schroedinger’s Cat: a podcast doesn’t exist in objective reality until Redfern appears on it.

      On the other hand, you have these anachronisms like MUFON and so on, civic groups that collect sightings reports, etc., etc. The quality of their methods of data-collection and their data varies wildly. So because of the great lack of uniformity, it’s hard to call this UFOlogy in the sense of a discipline or shared methodologies.

      On top of this, you no longer have the renegade scientists really doing work in the ‘field’. No more McDonalds or Hyneks. Stan Friedman is more a public lecturer now than researcher. Vallee has been out of it for years. But even when these guys were doing it, you could still say there wasn’t enough of them doing things enough of the same way for UFOlogy to be a discipline.

      So at the moment, speaking of a ‘UFOlogy’ is a bit of a misnomer. Until a bunch of people come along who raise it to the level of something more substantial, it seems that UFOlogy is just a hobby. Seen in that light, bellyaching over a hobby doesn’t make any sense.

      • Greg says:


        The change in the “field” as it is (and I have said this before) will most likely come from someone who is from outside of it. Maybe a psychologist, sociologist, or physicist with an artistic soul.

  5. James says:

    I really enjoy the format of this show but not another “state of ufology” program.
    (I’m not specifically talking about Radio Misterioso here). It seems to be fashionable in recent years to have discussions bemoaning the “UFO community” – a ridiculous term almost as bad as talking about the “black community”.

    Researchers should simply concentrate on their own work and do the best they can in whatever direction they choose. Stop worrying about the others in the field and do your bit to advance our understanding – if possible – of UFOs.

    Which brings me to Nick Redfern. I constantly hear him saying “I don’t care what other people think about me” or other people can “think what they like, I don’t care” and yet he seems to spend quite a bit of time bringing these statements up, so obviously he does care. Just focus on your work and if enough researchers did this then there wouldn’t be so many disputes/confrontations/entanglements etc.

    Great, now I’m talking about the state of ufology, cheers for ensnaring me guys!

    Keep up the great and unique work Greg.

    • Greg says:


      Of course Nick cares what people think of him. We all do. The extent that we react to it is what makes the difference.

      Thank you for the kind comments.

  6. Indrid I. Kaldtsen says:

    This sounds like an interesting show to me, although I keep checking back for the Kenn Thomas show, because the stream cut out on me in the middle (I finally listened live, sort of).

    If you go to a registration for comments, I don’t do facebook, twit, google or any of that, so please make it possible for us anonymous types to register directly, thx!

  7. Bob Bobson says:

    You might try using Disqus. Seems to work pretty well on other sites.

  8. PurrlGurrl says:

    Good show. Sorry I wasn’t able to tune in live, but glad to have the chance to listen from the archive. I agree with many of the points you guys were making during your discussion.

    Unfortunately, lately there seems to be a renewed fixation on Roswell (sigh). If Ufology is dying, it’s because it’s unable to get this 1,000 lb. monkey off its back.

  9. Indridi I. Kaldtsen says:

    Please don’t make it exclusively a facebook/google/etc. sign-in, I don’t have accts with any of them.

  10. I dig Disqus as a system for comment regulation. It also warns me if someone has replied to one of my comments via e-mail.

    Great comments made so far by everyone BTW, specially the saucer people.

    I found the references to Fort’s depression interesting. It seems everyone who gets interested in the detritus discarded by mainstream society –i.e. the ‘paranormal’– suffer from that “splinter stuck in our heads”, which seeks to drive us mad. I guess without that splinter we wouldn’t bother to find out what the Matrix is…

    Oh, and thanks for that oh-so lovely mental image of Chris O’Brien wearing a cheerleader dress, pom poms & all. I’m sure it will take several bottles of Mezcal just to wash it off 😛

    And I kind of find it ironic that Chris is lamenting how those damn kids with their cell phones are always with their nose stuck between their smart phones & what-nots, and don’t care about looking up to the sky anymore. Don’t worry, Chris! I’m sure the phenomenon will adapt to find out a new way to get our attention 😉

    • Greg says:


      UNSEE! UNSEE!!

      The phenomenon may become a ghost in our machines. How to do that without making sure we’re not being hacked by humans? Good idea for a story/ movie.

  11. Ricky says:

    Great show. The problem with Ufology is that it rarely has anything to do with the study of the actual phenomenon. For the most part Ufology has always been about the study of “UFO Reports” which are someone’s alleged “experience” of encountering an Unidentified Flying Object. The rare exceptions would be the Project Hessdalen in Norway and Chris O’Brien’s camera project. Ufology as it stands is something like studying a fax of a photocopy of the faded mimeograph of a 3rd grade quiz that your parents kept in a box in the garage for decades. I’m also of the mind that the rejection of the UFO/Alien mythos that has grown through the years is the only avenue left to take. The Grey meme and all that goes with it needs to go the way of Adamski’s Venusians and Meier’s Pleiadians. If “real” believable UFO cases were photographed, documented, and publicized like the recent very real recent meteor activity in Russia the number of people “interested” and discussing the UFO phenomenon wouldn’t be a problem. The use of modern data analytics in the study of existing databases would undoubtedly yield new and interesting patterns in the data, but it isn’t something that can be done without a great deal of work and then like you fellas alluded to, the real problem is knowing the right “question” to ask of the data.

    • >”If “real” believable UFO cases were photographed, documented, and publicized like the recent very real recent meteor activity in Russia the number of people “interested” and discussing the UFO phenomenon wouldn’t be a problem.”

      Let’s examine that assertion for a minute: Can we really make such extrapolation, when with the Russian meteorite there’s no risk of being ridiculed or be judged a hoaxer, since the Media had already supported the reality of the event?

      One of the things that impressed me the most about those videos is how most drivers just kept on driving without altering their trajectory nor speed. I really would like to know what went on inside their heads as they tried to process what they were witnessing. It kinda rejects one of the most tiresome debunking rejections used to criticize UFO/Sasquatch clips on Youtube –“Normal people don’t react that way when they face an extraordinary event!”

      • Ricky says:

        “Let’s examine that assertion for a minute: Can we really make such extrapolation, when with the Russian meteorite there’s no risk of being ridiculed or be judged a hoaxer, since the Media had already supported the reality of the event?”

        RPJ, Is there really any doubt that if a UFO display was filmed simultaneously by the number of cameras that filmed that meteorite that it would not be the lead story on all media? I am pretty sure that it would be after several of the videos hit youTube. Also, I’ve watched quite a few of the meteorite videos and as best I can recall, none of the videographers were ever identified making the fear of ridicule in a situation like that (multiple witness sighting with video) seem a real no-show, but it could still be a factor. My point was, the great number of witnesses, particularly the great number of witnesses who would have automatically documented the event could not and would not be ignored. Or at least that is the way it seems to me.

        I’m was also pretty impressed by the reactions of the drivers. I think that tells you what will happen if the mothership ever does land. A lot of people will say, “Wow” and then drive on to their dentist appointment.

        While I think the fact that people see Unidentified Flying Objects is inarguable, I find the existence of something called “Ufology” a little harder to swallow.

        • >”RPJ, Is there really any doubt that if a UFO display was filmed simultaneously by the number of cameras that filmed that meteorite that it would not be the lead story on all media?”

          I’m not sure. Let’s not forget that the media tends to exploit UFO news for the giggle factor.

          But right now I’m thinking of the famous Norway spiral of 2009, which was also captured by several cameras, and was widely commented on the news, but only because skeptics were eager to explain it away in mundane terms.

          >”I’m was also pretty impressed by the reactions of the drivers. I think that tells you what will happen if the mothership ever does land. A lot of people will say, “Wow” and then drive on to their dentist appointment. ”

          I agree with you. I think I’m going to write something about that this week. It will probably be a 2-part post since now we’re finding out that a great deal of Russians are actually skeptical of the meteor explanation! 😉

          • Ricky says:

            “But right now I’m thinking of the famous Norway spiral of 2009, which was also captured by several cameras, and was widely commented on the news, but only because skeptics were eager to explain it away in mundane terms.”

            Well, that is where they did a public service. The missile explanation is the correct one in my opinion. If a UFO display occurred with something like the magnitude of the Russian meteorite (thousands of witnesses, hundreds of injuries, millions of dollars worth of “physical evidence” in the way of damages, and at least 10 or 20 videos of the event from multiple locations) it seems unlikely that anyone would be giggling that much about it. Maybe I’m wrong, but such evidence would seem to be pretty difficult to laugh off even if they couldn’t provide a ready answer or prosaic explanation for it.

            Distrust of the government and authority is so great and the love of conspiracy theories so prevalent, that I am not surprised that people would be asking questions about the official story. Stories about the Russian military intercepting the meteor were being told from the beginning and now a video that seems to show something flying through the body of the meteor has popped up. How anything could intercept something moving at over 30K MPH is hard to imagine, so I’m pretty skeptical about that at this point.

            I wonder what would have happened if the meteor had broken up over Dallas or New York, would the reaction of the people on the ground and the media be different?

  12. Terry says:

    The problem with ufology? Look in the mirror. Nick Redfern’s writing is pablum. You can get the same info in a Google search. I see he’s collaborated with Tom Beckley and Commander X in the past. I’ll bet you dollars to donuts Commander X is a creation of either Beckley or Redfern. All of which have the same style of pumping out books with absolutely zero substance. Which brings me to Mr. Bishop. Your book has two sources, William Moore and Richard Doty, both of which are not credible. And now for the third head of the hydra, Paul Kimball. Mr. Bishop, you say you hate the infighting and feuds in ufology. Yet your pal Kimball goes out and starts little fires all over the place. he recently had James Fox saying that he would beat the shit out of him if he saw him in public. So, you three want to clean up ufology? Start in your own backyard.

    • Greg says:


      I have never claimed to be a “ufologist.” Neither have Nick or Paul. You didn’t complain about Chris.

      Most UFO researchers and fans realized a long time ago that Commander X is a creation and/ or amalgam of many sources.

      In our discussion on the show, we offer possible solutions and possible directions. You offer only complaints. Which approach is more helpful?

      Did you look in the sources section of Project Beta? If so, you would realize that your opinion is based on your prejudices and not any objective assessment of the material in the book, which I doubt you have read. You also apparently have no idea how nonfiction writing works, as any decent writer cross-checks sources with documents, articles, books and other sources to arrive at a story. Do you check the source of the material on everything you read, or just assume that they are accurate if you agree with them?

      Nick Redfern has spent hundreds of hours interviewing witnesses and officials, looking through archives, chasing down leads and processing information requests. What have you done? Where do you think a lot of that Google search stuff you can find so easily came from in the first place?

      Paul Kimball can’t help people’s reaction to his comments. I don’t think he has ever threatened to “beat the shit out of” anyone. You two should be friends, since neither of you seem to like Bill Moore.

      If you want to complain, come up with something based in facts rather than your opinions. See Spiderman meme on the lower right side of this page for more.

      Wait a minute, you just involved me in some useless infighting!

      • Paul Kimball says:

        Just for clarity, I wrote a less than kind review to Fox’s show “Chasing UFOs” which he read. He replied to by saying he would “beat the shit out of me” if he ever saw me – a statement for which he quickly apologized.

        Facts, people… facts!! 😉

        As for Bill Moore, I’ve come to think of him as an avant garde performance artist. On those terms, I quite like his work.

  13. Kandinsky says:

    I can listen to ‘state of ufology’ conversations all day if the right guys are talking. Which is lucky as we’ve been having that chat for fricken years already. Just the word (ufology) means so many different things to different people that, yeah, ufology is dead for some and filling expensive seats for others. Do we measure its pulse in dollars, site clicks or Fox News puff pieces?

    In many ways, I no longer really care about finding out although some people have thought-provoking explanations and hypotheses. Instead it’s just an interesting pursuit to speculate and idly day-dream about possibilities.

    What probably needs to happen is a new concept, or way of thinking, that can then be used as an analogy to reinterpret some UFO reports. Maybe if/when the Higgs-Boson begins to help us understand where/when/why dark matter is we’ll have an altered understanding of time/space and be able to place UFOs and associated oddness within that new perspective?

    I mean, damn! We keep rephrasing the same old ideas in the same old terms so *any* new input can at least make the discussion fresher. It’s like that 30 year old debate between which Beatles LP is better Abbey Road or White Album? It’s the same old shit.

    Oh and yeah, I agree with RPJ about Discus. They use it on a few sites and Mysterious Universe is one of them. Nick’s a member on that one along with Micah Hanks and RPJ.

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